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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
As you start using Blender, you may want to change your User Preferences to make it interact differently. So let's take a look at how to do that. User Preferences can be found in one of two places. The first, you can actually make it into an Editor. So if I click down here, you can see I've got a User Preferences option which I can use. That's probably not the best way to go about it. If I want I can also get to it through the File Menu, so do File>User Preferences, and this brings up a floating menu, which is probably a little bit better.
Now, in this we have a number of different tabs for different types of preferences, different categories of preferences. The first one is Interface, and along here we have basically how big the manipulator is here, we can change the size of our Manipulators, change the size of our axes. Probably one of the ones you want to take a look at here is whether you not you want to display Tooltips. So if I hover over an option here, you'll see this little black box comes up and it tells me two types of Tooltips.
One is the top one in bold is just a regular Tooltip, and then at the bottom is the Python Programming Hints. So if you're going to be programming back-end for Blender, then that can be helpful. Well, one thing is, I like to turn off the Python Tooltips, because it makes that Tooltip a little bit smaller, and if I want I can also turn On and Off Object Info, frames per second, and so on. So if we go over to Editing, these are basically preferences that we want if we're going to do editing, such as our Keyframing defaults and that sort of stuff.
The next one is Input, and that's actually probably the one we're going to spend most of our time, so let's actually come back to this and go through the rest of these. We have Addons, this is basically for plug-ins to Blender, where you can actually configure your plug-ins. Themes, this is our default Colors, and if you want to change the Colors of anything here; we can change Colors of our 3D View, Graph Editors, basically anything here. So this is kind of a nice way to change the look and feel of Blender. File, System, if you have default locations for your files you can put them in here.
System Preferences, now, these are stuff like OpenGL Preferences. What's the default light Color, where is it coming from? Are we going to be using Sound and how are we going to be using Sounds, so what type of Sound Driver I'm going to be using, that sort of thing? Let's go back to the Input Panel and go through that. Under Presets we have a couple of different Presets for the Mouse and for the hotkeys. Let's go through the Mouse first. Under Presets, we have Presets for Blender or Maya.
So if you're familiar with the Maya mouse and the way the Maya mouse works, you might want to use that. So let's go ahead and just go to our standard Blender Presets and just go through them. Do we want the mouse to Emulate 3 Button Mouse? Well, hopefully you have a 3 Button Mouse, but if not, you can do that emulation. Do you want Continuous Grab, and that's really just how you move objects? Do you want to Select With the Left or the Right mouse button? By default, Blender selects with the Right mouse button, and that's sometimes a little counterintuitive, because most other 3D packages select with the Left.
So if you want you can change that; I'm going to leave it at the default. What Orbit Style do you want, do you want Trackball or Turntable? Let me show you the difference of these. I'm going to leave this on Trackball, and if you want you can see how when I middle-click and drag, it's kind of a different feel to the Trackball. So let's go back into our User Preferences here and change it to Turntable. Now, this is probably more similar to Maya, where when you middle-click, it's kind of more Left, Right, Up, and Down than continuous.
It's a little harder to get that angled view in a trackball. It defaults more to a square Up and Down View, which I tend to like, but however you want to set it up is fine. And then, how do we want a Dolly? And there are some additional ones here. Also here is where we can set up our hotkeys. By default we're going to be using the Blender hotkeys for this lesson, but if you're familiar with Maya, or if you plan to use Maya in the future, you might want to start getting used to the Maya hotkeys here.
And so you can just change your hotkeys to Maya, and if you want you can also change your Mouse Presets to Maya, and now Blender will operate a lot more like Maya. So instead of middle-click and drag, you have to hold down the Alt key, left-click orbits, middle-click pans, right-click zooms, so that's the standard for Maya. And if you're familiar with Maya navigation and Maya keystrokes, this might be an easy way to get more familiar with Blender without having to learn a whole new method of navigation.
But for this course we are going to be using the standard Blender hotkeys and mouse operations. So if we want, once we get our default set, we can just use them in Blender. So whatever I've changed I can use it here. But if I want to continue using these preferences, I need to Save as Default, and what that does is it saves whatever I've set up as my default. So the next time I load Blender, my hotkeys, my mouse operations, will all be there for me.
So before you go making a lot of changes, it's always a good idea to just make the changes, use Blender for a little bit, and if you like them, then go back into the User Preferences window to go ahead and save them out. Now, if you change some Preferences and you kind of mess things up, very easy to get back; all we have to do is, again, go to Load Factory Settings and it brings it right back to the standard default views and the standard hotkeys. So go ahead and set up your User Preferences to the way you want.
If you're a Maya person, go ahead and use the Maya keys, I'm going to use Blender. If you're just starting with Blender, you might want to stick with the Blender hotkeys, just so you can follow along with me a little bit more easily.
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